A movie is only as good as the actors starring in it. Special effects and script also play a huge part in making any blockbuster, but casting the main role can mean the difference between box office gold, or bust. We looked back at some of the most iconic movie roles that almost went to someone else. Now whether that actor would have been better or worse for the role is something you can decide.
Who would have thought that Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for the character of Bella Swan for the Twilight Saga some years ago. Instead the role was given to the ever-so-emotionless Kristen Stewart. Who knows, if Lawrence was given the role Twilight probably would have had a shot at being a decent movie series. We're just happy JLaw has moved on to bigger and better things (Ahem, Katniss Everdeen).
Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
Can you imagine the famous Captain Jack Sparrow played by anyone other than Johnny Depp? Yeah, neither can we. But story goes, the role was first offered to Jim Carrey who turned down the role because he was filming his movie Bruce Almighty at the time. Call it fate, but we're glad Depp got the role. His wit and eccentricity has made Jack Sparrow one of the most legendary movie characters of all time.
Pretty Woman (1990)
Call it the battle of the redheads if you will. But Julia Roberts wasn't the original pick to star in Pretty Woman. It was Molly Ringwald who was supposed to don those hooker heels and fall in love with Richard Lewis. The Pretty in Pink star was the queen of every teen movie in the '80s, so it's no surprise that producers wanted Ringwald to star in this '90s flick. She turned down the role which was later given to Julia Roberts. Her portrayal as the hooker with heart and girl-next-door personality landed Roberts a Golden Globe for best actress in 1991.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Way before his he was Captain Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp was one of many actors considered to play the lovable slacker teenager Ferris Bueller. However Depp was unable to do the part due to scheduling conflicts. The part ultimately went to Matthew Brodrick who shot to fame with the role. Cheers to the movie that gave us epic but unrealistic expectations of what skipping school is like.
Back to the Future (1985)
The role that launched Michael J. Fox's career almost didn't happen. So much so, that they started filming the movie with a completely different actor. Although Fox was always the first choice to play Marty McFly, scheduling conflicts with his show Family Ties made it hard for him to take on other projects. So the part was cast to Eric Stoltz. Scenes were actually filmed with Stoltz until producers felt he wasn't a good fit for the movie. Eventually, things worked out and Fox was able to play the role as originally planned.
Casino Royale (2006)
Imagine Hugh Jackman as the sleek and suave James Bond. It's probably not too hard to picture. Before Daniel Craig was considered for the part, Jackman was offered the role but turned it down. In an interview he said he didn't want to play two iconic characters like Wolverine and James Bond at the same time. Not like Jackman needs the role but he sure fit the bill.
Forrest Gump (1994)
You know what they say, life is a box of chocolates; You never know what you're going to get. Tom Hanks probably wouldn't have guessed that his role in the heartfelt Forrest Gump would forever cement him as one of Hollywood's best actors. However Hanks wasn't the first in mind to play Forrest. John Travolta was the first pick for the role but turned it down. Years later, Travolta admitted turning down the role was a mistake.
Iron Man (2008)
Only one man can play the witty and sarcastic badass Tony Stark of Iron Man, and that's Robert Downey Jr. However it was rumoured the part was supposed to go to Tom Cruise who was also going to co-produce the film. However reports say Cruise dropped out because he lost interest in the script. Luckily, a genius cast Downey Jr. instead and the rest is history.
You can't touch Titanic, you just can't. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's chemistry is impeccable. But imagine Gwenyth Paltrow playing the character of Rose DeWitt Bukater instead. Paltrow was a close runner up for the role and was eager to play the part, however when producers found Winslet, there was no competition.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)
This one is meant for the history books. Not only would this movie have been completely different if they kept their original cast, the Jolie-Pitts probably wouldn't exist (gasp!). Originally Nicole Kidman was signed up to play Mrs. Smith but pulled out. Once Brad Pitt was signed on, producers hoped Kidman would jump back on board again but she didn't. But with a stroke of luck, producers signed on Angelina Jolie instead. That's one version of the story...
In a more scandalous version, Pitt reportedly never wanted Kidman to star in the movie because he always had his sights on Jolie. He allegedly became so insistent, that he threatened to pull out from the movie if they didn't get her. True or not, we all know how the story ends.
Written by Tanya Cruz for: AmongMen.com
More From AmongMen.com:
Sharon Stone, 55, looks virtually unrecognizable as the mother of porn star Linda Lovelace. Even Harvey Weinstein, whose Radius-TWC distributed the film, didn't recognize Stone when he saw "Lovelace" for the first time. "It’s funny, because when I played 'Basic Instinct,' everybody thought I was playing something closer to myself," Stone <a href="http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-talk/sharon-stone-sex-symbol-disappears-her-lovelace-role-180806767.html" target="_blank">told The Associated Press</a>. "But in fact I totally transformed myself to play that character. I didn't know how to go around looking like that. ... I’m not anything at all like that ['Basic Instinct'] part, and I'm not like this part."
Javier Bardem sported a pretty unflattering haircut for his role as an vicious sociopath in the film "No Country for Old Men." He wasn't a fan of the chop at first, reports About.com, but<a href="http://movies.about.com/od/nocountryforoldmen/a/countryjb111407_2.htm"> credits the style</a> for later helping him connect to the part, which ultimately earned him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. "So, I went to the trailer and they cut it and I saw it and I said, 'What the hell is that?'" he said. "But that helped a lot actually, because in a way he gave this reality to the character, this dimension of being very methodical. Everything is in place. It's kind of mathematical, like perfectly structured which is the way I thought the character should be: perfectly clean."
Pasta became George Clooney's best friend as he worked to gain weight for his role as a CIA agent Robert Baer in "Syriana." Clooney <a href="http://entertainment.ca.msn.com/movies/galleries/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=21658738&page=2">gained over 30 pounds</a>, according to MSN.com, though <a href="http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/entertainment-starswhogainedweightforroles/8/">he told</a> The Tech that the process is "not nearly as fun as it sounds." "So my job was just to eat as fast as I could, as much as I could ... But mostly you just ate until you wanted to throw up, and made sure you didn't throw up. So that was my job for a month, was eating," he said. Clooney went on to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his part in the film.
To play iconic French singer Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose," Marion Cotillard had to shave her eyebrows and hairline and even change her voice, a piece of her character she told USA Today she <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/movies/movieawards/oscars/2008-02-14-marion-cotillard-main_N.htm">struggled to part with</a>. "... I have to confess. When I shot the movie, off the set, my voice was more the voice of the character than mine. It took a little while for it to go up again," she said. The makeup process took five hours each day and an additional hour each night to remove the latex and glue used for her transformation. The dedication paid off in the best way, though, with Cotillard snagging the Best Actress Oscar at the 2008 Academy Awards.
Mickey Rourke added a considerable amount of muscle to his frame to play troubled wrestler Randy "the Ram" Robinson in "The Wrestler," a role that got him a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Rourke told MTV News he <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1594599/mickey-rourke-talks-about-training-wrestler.jhtml">went through an intense training process</a> to beef up several months before filming started. "I got a really good Israeli trainer who made me pump iron and do the cardio for four months," he said. "Then we did two hours of weight training and cardio and two hours of wrestling practice." Rourke said the playing the role was nothing like his days as a professional boxer and that after just a few days he "knew this would be the hardest movie I ever made." Rourke lost Best Actor to Sean Penn at the 2009 Oscars.
Brad Pitt abandoned his signature sexy looks to take play a crazed animal activist in "12 Monkeys." He cut his hair, masked his blue eyes behind contact lenses and put on a convincingly manic performance that earned him an Oscar nomination and a Best Supporting Actor honor at the 1996 Golden Globes ceremony. The film's director Terry Gilliam told Henri Béhar of Film Scouts that casting Pitt in the role <a href="http://www.filmscouts.com/scripts/interview.cfm?File=ter-gil">was a successful risk</a> for both him and his co-star Bruce Willis. "We worked very hard at changing his look. He's no longer the sexiest man in America and it's wonderful," said Gilliam. "I think both Brad and Bruce have taken big leaps and they're dangerous leaps. They could have fallen flat on their face but I think it ended up amazing."
Hilary Swank's transformation for the film "Boys Don't Cry"<a href="http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1999-11-18/lifestyle/9911170464_1_boys-don-t-cry-brandon-teena-director-kimberly-peirce"> began with a haircut</a> at Astor Place Barbershop in New York City where she chopped off her blond locks immediately after being cast in the role, according to the LA Times. She dyed her hair brown and began a workout routine to help her slim down and better expose her facial structure. She also began taking lessons to lower the tone of her voice and began to try to pass as a boy in public. "People used the pronoun 'he' all the time, but I'm sure not everyone thought I was a boy. There were people who were confused by my gender. And in those instances, if I blurred that line and didn't fit into the stereotypical image of boy or girl, people didn't want to have anything to do with me," she said. Swank took home the Oscar for Best Actress.
For his role in "Raging Bull" as former middleweight boxer Jake La Motta, Robert De Niro had to to go from fit to flab -- he played the younger, healthier La Motta as well as the overweight shadow of himself the boxer ultimately became. De Niro worked out and closely watched his diet going into initial filming of the movie. According to ESPN Page 2, he took the film's four month break from shooting to gain 60 pounds, weight gain that De Niro shared <a href="http://espn.go.com/page2/s/closer/020703.html">didn't leave him feeling the most comfortable</a>. "You get rashes on your legs. Your legs scrape together," he said. The extra pounds led him to a Best Actor Oscar in 1980.
Melissa Leo's role as Alice Ward, the mother of boxers Dicky Eklund and Micky Ward, won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Johnny Villanueva and Donald Mowat <a href="http://www.fashionmagazine.com/blogs/beauty/2011/02/24/the-beauty-of-the-fighter/2/">led a makeup and hair team that</a> teased, powdered and styled Leo to '80s perfection. For makeup, the team used colors that didn't quite compliment each other as well as a stain to yellow her teeth due to Ward's years of smoking. Leo felt her spot-on look coupled with spending time with Alice to research the character <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-doyle-palmer-/melissa-leo---the-fighter_b_803869.html">helped her nail the role</a>. "I realized I could do it and believed it when I walked out of the trailer there and the whole freaking town of Lowell believed it," she said.
After losing an extreme amount of weight to play boxing trainer Dicky Eklund in "The Fighter," Christian Bale said he most likely <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscar-winner-christian-bale-wont-162199">wouldn't make any major changes</a> to his body again. "I'm getting a little bit older now," said Bale backstage at the 83rd annual Academy Awards after winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. "I'm starting to recognize that if I do too much, there's no coming back from it. I don't have quite the mentality I did a few years back when I thought I was invincible. I've got a child now. I know too many of them. There's only so much a body can take." He told the Latino Review that he <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/how-christian-bale-lost-weight-the-fighter_n_793016.html">slimmed down for the role</a> by "running like crazy. I could just run for hours on end and I felt really healthy."
Australian beauty Nicole Kidman experienced a serious make-under for her role as Virginia Woolf in "The Hours." The transformation took three hours each day and included the use of a prosthetic nose, something Kidman told O Magazine her kids <a href="http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Oprah-Interviews-Meryl-Streep-Nicole-Kidman-and-Julianne-Moore/5">didn't like much. </a> "They didn't like my new look!" said Kidman. "When I took my kids to see a movie the other night, Connor saw a poster for The Hours and said, 'I don't like that nose.' He was like, 'Uh-uh!'" Though the exceptional work of the makeup artists <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,625543,00.html">wasn't celebrated with a best makeup Oscar Nomination</a>, Kidman snagged the ultimate prize, an Oscar win for Best Actress.
Though she <a href="http://www.people.com/people/gallery/0,,610667_615405,00.html">has been recognized</a> as one of PEOPLE's All Time Most Beautiful Women, Charlize Theron took on an entirely different look to play prostitute and serial killer Aileen Wuornos in "Monster" -- a role that earned her the Best Actress Oscar. From a new set of teeth sculpted specifically for her, to the addition of liquid latex on her face to give it a worn, leathery appearance and an army of freckles airbrushed on her face, makeup artist Tony G transformed Theron almost beyond recognition. This even included <a href="http://www.aboutfilm.com/features/monster/interviews.htm">plucking out and bleaching her eyebrows</a>, Theron told Aboutfilm.com, "because Aileen had barely had any eyebrows." "My job as an actor, and the part of my job that I love is the transforming-and-becoming aspect of it, and so it doesn't become about me anymore," said Theron. "I think that you have to step away from yourself, if you're going to do it. Otherwise don't do it; otherwise why do it?"
For her role as a mother separated from her husband and kids by the 2004 tsunami that ravaged Thailand, Naomi Watts sported bruises and cuts all over her face and body -- and earned a Best Actress nod for this year's Oscars. The look <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/21/naomi-watts-impossible_n_2346016.html">didn't initially sit well</a> with her two sons whom she brought along for the filming of the movie. But they slowly warmed up to the temporary injuries. "They came first time on a day where I had minimal wounds - nothing too much. ... And then by the third day they came, they were putting the chocolate powder all over me and painting some wounds on themselves and me. So they understood it," she said.
Follow AmongMen.com on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@AmongMenMag